Bulls first to crack the century in Super14

South Africa’s Bulls produced championship form in totting up 50 points for the second week to toss aside Australian challengers the Brumbies in this weekend’s Super 14 action.

The defending champions scored five tries and Springbok fly-half Morne Steyn claimed 35 points to whip the Brumbies 50-32 and lead the southern hemisphere provincial series by one point after the opening two rounds.

New Zealand title chasers the Hurricanes and last season’s finalists the Chiefs were in joint second spot on nine points after weekend victories.

The Hurricanes cut loose in the second half for an emphatic 47-22 home victory over Australia’s Western Force, while defence took a backseat as the Chiefs completed a dizzying 72-65 win over the Lions in Johannesburg.

The Western Stormers hold down fourth place after a 27-6 win over the Waratahs in Cape Town.

The big improvers in fifth spot were the Reds, who pulled off the stunning upset of the weekend, a 41-20 triumph over the seven-time Super rugby champions Crusaders in Brisbane.

Elsewhere, the Blues clinched a tense 19-15 victory over the Highlanders in Dunedin, while the Cheetahs gained their first away win in three seasons when they upset Sharks 25-20 in an all-South African match in Durban.

The Bulls sent out an ominous message to their rivals with a dominant second half against the Brumbies, who led 21-20 at half-time.

After pounding the Cheetahs 51-34 the previous week, the Bulls have now amassed 101 points in just two outings and take on the Waratahs at home next weekend.

Steyn scored two tries and kicked five conversions and five penalties as the Bulls gathered strength while the Brumbies faded with the 1,500-metre-plus altitude kicking in.

The Hurricanes piled on 29 second-half points after leading the Force 18-8 at half-time to remain unbeaten in this year’s competition.

After struggling to score only one try against the Blues the previous week, they looked a more polished unit as they piled on seven tries to pick up a bonus point.

Super 14 records tumbled as the Chiefs and Lions rung up 137 points to better by 19 the previous best when the Sharks defeated Otago 13 years ago.

The 18 tries were evenly divided between the teams while the Lions became the first team to score 65 points and end up losers.

Springbok wing Bryan Habana scored twice on his home debut as the Stormers pulled away from the Waratahs in what had been a closely-contested match at Newlands.

Habana, who moved from the Bulls to the Cape franchise at the end of last season, scored off a charged down kick and again after he was put into a gap after a scrum win.

The Reds broke an 11-year drought against the Crusaders and inflicted the New Zealanders’ worst defeat in six years to claim a four-try bonus point win in Brisbane.

Wallaby fly-half Quade Cooper was the Reds’ hero with 31 points from two tries, three conversions and five penalty goals.

It was the Crusaders’ biggest defeat since crashing out 43-19 to the Waratahs at home in 2004.

The Blues redeemed the previous week’s second half capitulation against the Hurricanes to overcome a 12-7 half-time deficit and down Otago.

The Cheetahs will set off on a demanding five-week away tour to Australia and New Zealand buoyed by their upset win over the Sharks.

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